DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake volleyball team dropped a close match to Northern Iowa, 3-1, Saturday night at the Knapp Center. Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) led the Bulldogs with a career-high 16 kills and Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) tallied 12 kills and 10 digs for her team-leading seventh double-double of the season.
UNI (14-6, 6-1 MVC) had four players in double figures in kills with Macy Ubben leading the attack with 16 and she added 12 digs to help the Panthers win 28-26, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-19. The Panthers had 59 kills and hit .218 against the Bulldogs one night after they had their 59-match MVC streak come to an end in Omaha, losing to Creighton 3-1.
Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa) continued her strong defensive play for Drake (2-15, 1-6 MVC) with 20 digs. Halli Meyer (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Rebecca Brown (Bentonville, Ark.) split time at the setter position and they dished out 23 and 22 assists, respectively.
Set one was back and forth early as the two teams traded points. Brown's service ace cut UNI's lead to 16-15. UNI scored two straight after the ace and forced Drake to take a timeout behind 18-15. A kill by Bentley Mancini (Burnsville, Minn.) cut the Panthers lead to 22-21 and forced the Panthers to use their first timeout of the night. A kill by Platte and a UNI attack error gave the Bulldogs a 23-22 lead and forced UNI to take their final timeout of the set. Both teams held leads out the break but the Bulldogs rally fell just short as the Panthers took the opener, 28-26. UNI's last two points came from a Drake attack error and a kill by Amy Braun. Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.), Platte and Mancini led the attack in the opening frame with three kills each.
Tramosljanin's kill and a UNI attack error helped Drake cut the deficit to 16-15 late in the second set. UNI answered with two straight points to extend their lead to 18-15 and force a Bulldogs timeout. The Panthers used a 7-2 run to pull away for the 25-18 win.
Facing a 2-0 deficit, Drake came out firing in the third set and held a 6-4 lead after a kill by Platte. The Bulldogs lost the lead after a 5-0 run by UNI, the last two points from back-to-back attack errors. Drake took their first timeout of the set, down 9-6. Out of the break the Bulldogs went on a 6-2 run to tie the match at 11-11, the last two points on back-to-back aces by Effken. An ace by Tramosljanin and consecutive attack errors by the Panthers gave the Bulldogs a 15-14 lead and forced UNI to take a timeout. Kills by Platte and Shelby Daum (Battle Creek, Neb.) helped Drake take a 20-17 lead and force a Panthers timeout. Drake held off a late rally by the Panthers to take the third set, 25-23, the set point coming from a Panthers attack error.
UNI took a 9-4 lead in the fourth set and forced Drake to take a timeout. Drake rallied with three straight points to cut UNI's lead to 18-16 and force UNI to take a timeout. The Panthers held off the Bulldogs with a 7-3 run to take the match with a 25-19 win.
Effken finished the night with eight kills, five dig, two service aces and one block assist. Katie Dulek (Lenexa, Kan.) tallied five kills and four block assists.
Drake will travel to Indiana State next Friday, Oct. 13 and to Illinois State Saturday, Oct. 14. The Indiana State match will start at 6 p.m. central time and the Illinois State match will have a 7 p.m. first serve. Live stats at www.godrakebulldogs.com will be available for both matches.